Continuing on Our Journey



Over the past few years at Blackboard we have been on a journey to evolve our business, remaining laser-focused on the experience we deliver to our clients and providing them innovative products and services that help them meet the needs of organizations, users and learners. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished in such a short period of time and am optimistic about the path we’re on as a company.

We have been focused on our long-term vision to serve our clients as their partner in change. We’ve made significant investments in our product development, and we are seeing these investments pay off through our positive momentum for Ultra, our next-generation user experience, and in the increasing number of clients around the globe migrating to Learn SaaS. As of today, more than 50 clients are running Ultra, with dozens more planning to start using the Ultra experience and courses in the second half of the year. Also, 361 clients around the globe have moved to SaaS deployment for Learn.

Driving this effort is a team of leaders who are passionate about education and deeply committed to making an impact.  I’m sad to announce that one of our teammates, Katie Blot, has decided to leave her role as Chief Strategy Officer to pursue an opportunity with an organization focused on education access and affordability. During her 10 years with Blackboard, Katie has played a pivotal role, leading the business through multiple critical phases of our transformation. We wish her all the best and thank her for her many contributions.

Looking ahead, we are moving to a new phase in our journey of migrating our client base to the cloud and providing the services and capabilities that our clients need to deliver on their missions in the rapidly changing education environment. Our recent focus has been on successfully delivering Learn SaaS and Ultra to the market. While we continue to deliver on these top priorities, we are also looking to realize the full potential of our portfolio and EdTech SaaS platform. As we make this shift, it is critical that we have leaders in the right roles to ensure our success. To that end, we are making a number of leadership changes, promoting several leaders from within—all whom have played key roles in clarifying and executing our strategy to date.

Phill Miller, who currently serves as head of the Teaching & Learning (T&L) product line, will move into the newly created position of Chief Learning and Innovation Officer. Phill has over 14 years of experience in education technology, and has been responsible for leading the product strategy, roadmap, management and marketing for Blackboard’s suite of online teaching and learning solutions including Blackboard Learn, Blackboard Open LMS, Blackboard Collaborate, Blackboard Ally and SafeAssign. Phill will lead new growth opportunities in the areas of T&L and student success, exploring ways to support our clients as their needs continue to evolve.

Kathy Vieira will move into the Chief Portfolio Officer role, responsible for the execution of our portfolio strategy. Kathy joined Blackboard in 2006 through the acquisition of WebCT and has served in numerous leadership roles across the organization including Vice President of Product Strategy & Management and Vice President of Partnerships. Our product line leaders for T&L, Campus Enablement and Community Engagement will report to Kathy, and she will continue to lead our Blackboard Student Services product line.  Kathy will also lead corporate marketing and communications and T&L product marketing.

Lily Ladd, who currently serves as Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Industry Relations, will move into the Chief Strategy Officer role responsible for our corporate strategy and portfolio and platform strategy. In her three years at Blackboard, Lily’s responsibilities have spanned company, portfolio and platform strategy, strategic alliances, corporate development, and global thought leadership. In her new role, Lily will be responsible for driving our strategy development process and creating the vision that defines and refines our future state portfolio and the platform architecture to enable the portfolio.

With Phill’s transition to a new role, Jim Chalex will serve as the new product line lead for T&L.  Jim will expand his role from execution of our Learn SaaS and Ultra strategies to assuming responsibility for the entire T&L portion of our portfolio. In his nine years at Blackboard, Jim has had multiple product management leadership roles, including leading Blackboard Learn, Analytics, and Outcomes Assessment.

Each of these leaders brings a breadth of experience and deep knowledge base that will be invaluable as we continue to evolve our business and press forward with our efforts to drive student success. I’m truly excited by what’s in store for Blackboard! I hope you’ll join our leadership team at BbWorld18 in Orlando, Florida July 17-19 to learn more.